A Section 8 Notice can be served when a landlord wants to gain back possession of a property that’s being let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST).
Issued in England and Wales, a Section 8 Notice refers to Sections of the Housing Act 1988. If you’ve been served a Section 8 Notice this means that you’re landlord wants to evict you and you're being given notice to vacate the property.
To issue you with a Section 8 Notice your landlord must be able to show that you’ve breached the terms of your contract and must follow a procedure which involves getting a court order. It is against the law for a landlord to try and force you to leave your home without getting this court order first.
A Section 8 Notice is most commonly served due to rent arrears.
Your landlord can evict you if you fall behind with your rent payments.
If you pay your rent monthly, you must be at least 2 months in arrears. If you pay fortnightly or weekly, then it's eight weeks in arrears.
The landlord must be able to offer proof that you’re in rent arrears. In some instances, copies of communication between yourself and to landlord referring to the arrears situation may be required, as you should have been sent warning letters/emails.
If you're having difficulty paying your rent, make sure you seek advice as soon as you can to prevent you from losing your home.
If you’re not in rent arrears
There are other grounds within the housing act that can still warrant a Section 8 notice. These are:
- the house is being repossessed; the landlord’s mortgage must have been in place before the tenancy commenced otherwise you should have been warned the possibility this could happen.
- you have breached clauses in the tenancy agreement (other than rent arrears),
- you’ve caused damage to the property either by neglect, or from another party that was staying with or visiting you at the property,
- if you’re causing a nuisance to your neighbours or if you’re using the property for illegal activity (and have been convicted for this by a court),
- you gave incorrect information when you entered into the agreement of your tenancy.
What should you do if you’re issued a Section 8 notice?
A Section 8 Notice can be invalid if it is not issued properly. That’s why it’s important for you to check that all the details on the document are correct.
A Section 8 Notice must be issued on a standard document either from the courts or similarly qualified source. You can be given it in person, it can be posted through your door or posted to you. The landlord will be advised to have a proof of post in case you claim you didn’t receive the notice (this isn’t advised).
- The form you have been issued the notice on must be up-to-date.
- The grounds given for breach of contract must be written exactly how they appear on the 1998 Housing Act.
- There must be details of the claim, for example, a copy of a payment schedule with indication of the dates of any missed payments.
- The full and correct address of the property.
- Every tenant in the property must be listed if there’s a joint tenancy.
If you’re not sure how to respond to the Section 8 notice it’s advisable that you seek legal help to prevent your landlord attempting to take you to court.
Feature image credit: Chauromano